Tech companies are constantly hyping the capabilities of their ever-improving artificial intelligence. But Google was quick to shut down claims that one of its programs had advanced so much that it had become sentient.
According to an eye-opening tale in the Washington Post on Saturday, one Google engineer said that after hundreds of interactions with a cutting edge, unreleased AI system called LaMDA, he believed the program had achieved a level of consciousness.
In interviews and public statements, many in the AI community pushed back at the engineer’s claims, while some pointed out that his tale highlights how the technology can lead people to assign human attributes to it. But the belief that Google’s AI could be sentient arguably highlights both our fears and expectations for what this technology can do.